European Tour announces early 2012 docket

The European Tour announced the early portion of its 2012 schedule on Monday with the events through June.

The 2012 schedule will start in January, which is a change after the last several seasons began play late the previous year.

The Africa Open will kick off the slate on January 5. The tour will head to the United States for back-to-back World Golf Championships events the final week of February, then the second week in March.

There are a pair of new venues for the China Open and Sicilian Open heading to different courses this year, while the Open de Espana and Madeira Islands Open will also rotate venues.

The Nordea Masters makes the biggest move on the schedule. Traditionally played the week after the British Open, the Nordea Masters will be contested the week before the U.S. Open and will end on Saturday to give players an extra day to make it to San Francisco for the season's second major.